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Old 11-06-2013, 07:26 AM   #1
Vala
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A trip of Firsts - Halloween Trip Report 2013 (completed 2/2/2014)

So it's been a while since I visited the Happiest Place on Earth... and I am proud to report I really did something I had never done before every day.

Let me start with the teaser picture:





According to some CMs we spoke to apparently I am the only person who managed to meet a Penguin on two consecutive trips.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:27 AM   #2
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October 15 - On the road again

Nothing eventful, really. After we missed the cheap direct flights with Lufthansa (currently the only airline flying to LAX directly from Germany) we ended up booking US Airways. They got the job done, though you could really tell the difference. Totally different service level. Still for a 300 Euro price difference nothing I'm not willing to deal with.

We had a stopover in Charlotte which so is not a candidate for my favorite airport ever. Thank god we got there almost an hour early, or we may not even have made the connection. US Airways recommends a minimum connection time of 45 minutes there. We had almost 2 hours and reached the gate just in time for boarding.

What I can however recommend is the car service a friend had booked for us: Execucar. We splurged and got a private sedan pick up on the way in. It was really nice to have a courteous driver with a nice little sign waiting for us after 20 hours on our feet.

Pick up was smooth and easy and an hour later we were just within the vicinity of DLR when the Halloween fireworks started - California so knows how to welcome foreign visitors.

A little while later we arrived at our home base for the next 13 days: the Dessert Inn and Suites Hotel. It's more a motel than a real hotel and is located almost directly at the crosswalk leading to the DLR Shuttle Area on Harbor Boulevard. We tried a couple of hotels in the area and this turned out to be our favorite. It's been our third time coming there now and I will stay there again in a heartbeat. We got most nights for $ 69 which is a bargain considering how close to the parks you are. It's basic, but clean. Staff is more than friendly and helpful. Also free WiFi and a free (granted it's very basic) breakfast.

We barely managed to unpack before getting too tired. Next morning would have an early wake up call with our tradition... first meal of the trip at Goofy's Kitchen!
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:55 PM   #3
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We were there right before you! Can't wait to read more =)
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:59 PM   #4
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Can't wait to hear more
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Old 11-08-2013, 02:23 PM   #5
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Before I start Day 1 let me quickly introduce you to the cast.

There's yours truly of course *takes a bow*, along with my friend and room mate Andrea. Also my friends Jackie (the bride - her upcoming wedding was the main reason why we came to California this year instead of doing WDW), JJ and Rafael will be making appearances.

Day 1: October 16 - part 1: Honey I'm home!

We wake up way, way too early. Even for the first reservation at Goofy's Kitchen at 7 AM. I spend most of the morning sorting my drawings while Andrea checks out the TV stations. Some of you know my picture folders, I need to be careful or it will break my back eventually. :D When sorting I decide last second to chuck in a Baloo drawing. It's been a while, but we met him at Goofy's.

After unpacking we still manage to spend too much time in Downtown Disney and arrive slightly late. Too much new stuff.

Like this gigantic dragon on the roof of the Lego Store



and a lot of very funny advertisements for Halloweentime.





Us spending too much time gawking leads to... Pluto being at the Photo Spot outside of Goofy's Kitchen, the maestro is on a break. Oh. But we're coming back twice, I will get my picture.

The Pluto shot is on Andrea's camera, I'll post it as soon as I have it.

We walk in and I see fur moving. A large mass of fur. "BALOO!!!!!" Yes, I screamed that all across Goofy's Kitchen. Sue me, I am a tourist. And a jetlagged one at that. Baloo is one of Andrea's favorites. I was hoping so much we'd see him this trip, and then we get him as first character.

Baloo makes it to our table first, admires his drawing and plays around with us a bit.





I see munks close by, but decide to dash for food.

Some photos of the restaurant:





Next up is a very, very playful Dale who even takes me for a little dance. What better wake up call is there than a chipmunk hug?





Pluto pays us a second visit too.



Andrea was that happy that we saw two of our favorites right away that she even took a photo with Pluto voluntarily. She loves characters just as much as we all do, but she hates being on pictures. So that says a lot about how happy she was.

After Pluto visited it was Chipmunk time again.



Chip saying hi to his friends online:



The last character we meet is Jasmine.



As you can see from the diffent color of the plates I even managed to eat for a change. Doesn't really happen that often at character meals where food is so not a priority for me. :D

Overall compared to our last visit the number of characters had gone down - Minnie was missing and usually we had a second guest character besides Baloo too. But we were happy - we had eaten well, had our play time and were on our way to the parks just on time for opening!
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Old 11-14-2013, 05:11 AM   #6
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Day 1 . October 16 - part 2: Behind closed doors

We make it to the main gates just in time for opening.

Due to the length of our stay we had decided to get APs – that and we hope to get another trip in before the year they're valid for is over. Our vouchers clearly say just present them at the turnstile, so we get in line to do that. The lines are moving somewhat slowly due to the CMs still checking tickets for pictures. That means it takes us a little while until we reach the front of the line – where we are promptly told we need to go to the ticket booths. Maybe you should update your vouchers then? >< Almost half an hour later (you can tell it’s Fall Break from the crowds) we are finally in and have had our photos taken for the AP too.

We’re home!

Normally the tradition would say we make a beeline for Pixie Hollow and then go for a spin on Buzz. But that is before I spot a pale pinkish top on Town Square… Daisy is meeting! Daisy in the parks?! :O



Apparently Mary Poppins also has not flown in that day cause we meet Bert solo.



On our way to Pixie Hollow we also spot Alice and the Mad Hatter as well as Peter Pan and Hook (now that’s a combination), but both lines are closed already.

At Pixie Hollow we are really lucky and meet both Rosetta and Silvermist. Tink’s friends do not fly in together that often.





Tink is charming and sweet as always… well she can behave if she wants to. The trick is to make her want to behave.



Of course next is our second tradition: go and ride Buzz Lightyear. :D I was quite happy that my score hadn’t suffered from being on the Paris ride so often lately. It’s either my imagination or the guns differ a lot.
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:10 PM   #7
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Great TR so far! Can't wait for more! I've never done Pixie Hollow, maybe I'll give it a shot in three weeks.
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:25 PM   #8
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Great pics!
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Old 11-16-2013, 04:26 PM   #9
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Thank you both.

Pixie Hollow is a really neat area. It's onne of those things I always recommend that you should give a try if visiting. The theming alone is done very nicely.
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Old 11-16-2013, 04:27 PM   #10
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Day 1 - October 16 - part 3: Carnival

Meanwhile the Halloween Carnival has been open for a while and that’s an area we really wanted to check out as we hadn’t seen it yet.





The line to “Conjure a Villain” is relatively short and we make it in with the first group.

Let me say that I love, love, love the idea. Also the set up is fantastic.





The one downside we experienced during our stay was that the line gets very long fast. We saw it go over 45 minutes. Villains lines always get long, that’s not the issue. But during our last Halloween trip when the villains were still meeting at Small World you met three or sometimes even four villains with that wait. Now it’s only one, and it’s a small standard cast. Small World had rare characters showing up at least occasionally.

We’re lucky and manage to conjure one of my favorites: her majesty, the Evil Queen.





When we leave Pluto is out at the Carnival.



An attempt to get a photo of his beautiful Vampire collar.



Jessie is meeting at the Scare-dy-Crow Shack.



It’s time for another first… neither of us have met Merida yet.

She’s on a break when we arrive, but the line is extremely short. We’re the third group. A CM spots my drawing of her and chats with us, then at once points my artwork out to Merida when I walk up to her.

(photos to follow... Photopass CD has been mailed last night apparently)

Merida asks if she could have one too. Umm… I’ll try? Last minute commission artwork for the princess I have most problems with when I’m drawing. There was a reason I only brought one drawing of her. Andrea giggles. But I’ll certainly try.





On the way back we quickly check out the new Fantasyland. The Rapunzel show is already going on. I had actually promised JJ not to go in there without her, but no one warned me that the stage is that much in plain sight. At JJ's request I had specifically avoided all spoilers. One look at Flynn and we decide to go in there. Erm. (JJ forgave me eventually.)

Andrea gets in line to save our spot while I get in line for the surprise princess meet near the bridge. We had seen Snow White earlier when walking past, but now it’s Belle.

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Old 11-18-2013, 07:16 AM   #11
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Day 1 - October 16 - part 4 - Chasing Cars (or Penguins in this case)


The Rapunzel show.

Two Renaissance Vaudeville Comedians – Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones - invite our Heroines and Heroes to re-tell their story on stage. Sometimes it’s Rapunzel and Flynn, sometimes they’re joined by Belle (with Mr. Smythe as a quite impressive Beast stand in). It is very funny and seemed quite popular. If you get a chance: go and see it.












Another recommendation of mine: the snack stand across the entrance, Maurice’s Treats. Their Boysen Apple Freeze is the proof that sugar can make you addicted. So yummy. Just don’t drink it too fast, or you’ll get hit by the infamous brain freeze symptoms.



I also really loved their twists - I munched at least three of the Cheddar Garlic Bagel twists during our stay. So good. The chocolate one was very good too, but the Cheddar Cheese one is an absolute dream.

After the show was over Flynn and Rapunzel came out and took pictures with those who waited.



I was quite amazed this wasn’t really announced anywhere. We saw lots of people trying to run in after the show when they spotted the meet and promptly being refused by the CMs.

After the show the goal was to try at Pixie Hollow again… I had finally done my Vidia drawing after all and wanted to deliver.

On the way we see both Peter Pan and Alice and the Hatter out and about. I quickly go to meet Peter while Andrea got in line for Alice and the Hatter – their line seems to be moving more slowly and we want to play safe.





We’re in line for Pixie Hollow when I spot a large hat with feather, black hair underneath. Oh good, Hook is still out and about. But what’s that? Hook is chasing after something black. “PENGUIN!!!!” I squeal and run off from the line, leaving behind two slightly stunned CMs and also Andrea who quickly catches up with me when she realizes I must have spotted a character.

A Mary Poppins Penguin has snatched Hook’s sword and has taken off with it! Mr. Penguin tries to get help from Alice and the Hatter.



Hook keeps chasing after him, with both of us in pursuit. At one point I may even have yelled at Hook to leave the Penguin alone – penguins are an endangered species after all.

Near the Fantasyland bathrooms Mr. Penguin finally realizes someone’s behind him and begging “Mr. Penguin, can I please have a photo?”



I’m really amazed – we end up following Mr. Penguin all across Fantasyland and no one but us seems bothered.



At Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride I finally manage to get my drawing out and get an autograph too. Yay!



On our way back to Pixie Hollow we take the sneak route by the Wishing Well and find an unexpected visitor: the Fairy Godmother!



Back at Pixie Hollow it’s Rosetta and Tink again.





The CMs recognize us from earlier and after looking at my drawings tell us that Terence and Vidia are currently not meeting anymore and Periwinkle might only be back for Christmas season – which of course makes sense with her being a frost fairy. Still it’s sad to hear we won’t meet her and that two of our favorites are gone.

After that penguin hunt we need some rest and decide to check out the Beauty and the Beast performance at the Royal Theatre.
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:27 AM   #12
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Day 1 - October 16 - part 5: Beauty and the Beast

The Beauty and the Beast show is also very funny and really enjoyable, though we both like the Rapunzel one better. And that was so not due to the presence of Mr Rider. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. :greenp:















Then Belle is telling off our narrators cause the final battle didn't quite go as she remembered.





Belle comes out meeting her fans after a little bit too and remembers me from earlier on.



The line to meet the princesses at the new Fantasy Faire (I know, that’s not the right name… but that’s what I remember it as) is extremely short, so we figure we may as well check out the new place.

Less than 10 minutes later we’re at the front of the line. The CMs are very sweet and extremely chatty. The female CM is majorly stunned when we tell her we were penguin hunting earlier (it’s not exactly cold… no one would expect to meet a penguin in that weather) while the male CM starts asking how I liked Jessica Rabbit when he notices my picture of Cinderella from the Dreamers event. Funny, that would somehow become a recurring theme during the whole trip. :D

The announcement said Aurora and Cinderella would be in. The third princess is a surprise, and in our case a very welcome one. We walk around the corner to find ourselves face to face with… Princess Tiana! Yay!!!





She’s friendly and chatty as always and seems very happy that I am so overly excited meeting her. She really loves her drawing too and for once the Photopass guy is on the ball and captures everything.

Completing the set are Cinderella




and Aurora.



I can now see what others have been posting about the lighting in that place now. But truth to be told, I don’t think it was that bad. I find the Princess Pavillion in Paris way worse lit.
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:37 PM   #13
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Day 1 - October part 6: Don't stop the Carnival

After another spin on Buzz - I know, I know... the heat is getting to me. Two rides in one day? :P - it’s now close to the closing time of the Halloween Carnival. The posts about this “running of the goats” had really intrigued me, so we figured we might try for that.

When we arrive the goats are still there, but Goofy is out.



Another conjuring brings up Hook.



Thankfully I must have ran too fast and he doesn’t realize I am the defender of Mr. Penguin. :D





We come out, goats gone. Just my luck. However, the Halloween characters we’ve been missing are out now. Mickey and Minnie lead a quick costume parade with the kids while Billy Hill is playing.



Then it’s picture time.





Chip squeezes inbetween too





before I spot Donald at the coloring tables.

He absolutely loves the cowboy drawing I have done of him and insists on adding his own little drawing. Isn’t that cute?



I'll add a scan later, it really doesn't show up as well as on the original image here.

Dale is hiding on the way out, but we manage to get him to pose for pictures.





The pumpkins are fabulous.















On our way out we find Goofy looking all lonely. So it’s another photo with him too





Then we head over to our first quick DCA visit to check out the lights coming on in Carsland!
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:55 AM   #14
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Day 1 - October 16 - part 7: Chasing Cars (this time for real)

Carsland at dusk. Well at least that was the goal - we are slightly being kept up because Mickey is meeting in his beautiful new outfit on Buena Vista Street.




Buena Vista Street is definitely nicely done. I got to admit I miss the old Sunshine Plaza though. They totally hit the nail on the head with what they wanted to express with the new entrance. But personally, for me the old Sunshine Plaza was "California" more if that makes sense. Maybe that goes with me being a tourist.

Finally we reach our destination.










Lightning McQueen is meeting in front of the Cozy Cone Motel.






Jetlag is really catching up. I just about manage to stay awake for a class at the Animation Academy... Olaf from Frozen! After that we decide to quickly check out World of Disney for new pins and then head for the hotel for a timely goodnight. Tomorrow will have another early start with Breakfast with Minnie and Friends at the Plaza Inn.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:19 PM   #15
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Great updates
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